Candidate decries Rio Rancho vote lines

RIO RANCHO, N.M. (KRQE) — Outrage about the Rio Rancho voting disaster continued to boil Wednesday and was expected to spill into a routine post-election meeting Wednesday night.

The Sandoval County Canvassing Board was scheduled to meet at 6 p.m. to open and begin counting 400 provision and military ballots.

With some races still too close to call, there might be enough votes there to tip the balance in those contests.

Ironically one of those races is to succeed Sandoval County Clerk Sally Padilla who is taking the most heat for long lines and hours-long waits at the five voting centers open Tuesday in Rio Rancho, the state's third largest city.

About 30,000 voters showed up to find only 15 ballot-printing machines waiting for them.

"This is outrageous," Republican clerk candidate Paula Papponi told KRQE News 13. "It's voter suppression. It's disenfranchising.

"It's outrageous, and the citizens of Sandoval County deserve much better than this."

News 13 was unable to contact Democratic clerk candidate Eileen Moreno Garbagni for her reaction.

At last report Garbagni was 235 votes ahead of Papponi--25,385- 25,150--with all 55 of the county's polling sites reporting, according to the Secretary of State's Office.

The state Senate race between incumbent Democrat John Sapien and Republican David Doyle also is undecided with Sapien holding a 139-vote lead out of about 23,000 total votes.

Election workers finished counting the votes about 2:30 a.m. with the last Rio Rancho voter in line not casting a ballot until around midnight.

A county spokesperson claims the Padilla asked the state for 10 more ballot machines earlier this year but didn't get them because of state budget issues.

"All government agencies are under budget constraints right now, and the Secretary of State is one of those," Sandoval County spokesman Sidney Hill told KRQE News 13. "They're the ones that provide the machines and apparently didn't have it in their budget to give us more."

Secretary of State Dianna Dur n said her office is now $1.4 million in the red because of the election and providing the official ballot-printing machines to counties throughout New Mexico.

Duran said as far as she knows, Sandoval County only requested 15 machines for the election, not the 25 the county claims.

The canvassing board was schedule to open and count provisional ballots.  Those are separate paper ballots cast by people who had had some problem with the voter rolls but are later shown to be properly registered.

Copyright 2014 KRQE TV. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


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New Mexico (change)

New Mexico is located in the southwestern region of the U.S. Inhabited by Native American populations for many centuries, New Mexico has also been part of Imperial Spain, part of Mexico, and a U.S. territory.
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Governor: Susana Martinez
Lieutenant Governor: John Sanchez
Attorney General: Gary King
Secretary of State: Dianna J. Durán

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